London's Pulse: Medical Officer of Health reports 1848-1972

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Twickenham 1955

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for Twickenham]

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So it is very important to try to aim at a calm unemotional type of life
and not to get unduly upset by trivial or even serious events. Of course it is
easy to say this but it needs practise and care to be able to do it, but most of us
can if we try. We must try to ease whatever excessive burdens in life may be
helping to cause the ulcer. It may be possible to adjust your work by careful
thought to reducing the unnecessary activities, or by doing things in a different
way, so as to eliminate unnecessary fatigue. In the home you can consider how
to plan so as not to overtire yourself. A little thought will show that many a
job you consider to be essential can be put off for a week or a month or a year.
If you look back over the years of your life there must have been innumerable
instances of worry, and yet you got over them. Some of the most serious worries
of our lives seem trivial in retrospect years afterwards. We may not even
remember the name of a person who caused us great unhappiness twenty or
thirty years ago ; even the details of the incident will be forgotten. It will
help so much if you can make a mental list of the blessings which are yours;
and consider how much worse off you would be without them. In this way
your outlook can become more philosophic and your worries lessened.
A few years ago when cortisone was discovered to have a beneficial effect
on rheumatoid arthritis, it gave hope and encouragement to millions of sufferers
all over the world. Yet as time went on it was found that giving cortisone
presented dangers which were unknown at the time of its discovery. In common
with many drugs which are composed mostly of products manufactured inside
the body itself, when taken cortisone tends to suppress the natural manufacture
of the drug and to cause the organ doing it to lose its ability. Thus when
cortisone is given to a patient and is then withdrawn the patient is in greater
debility than ever before. But recently it has also been shown that aspirin in
sufficient dose and under proper medical supervision and guidance, is in many
cases almost as good as cortisone. What we have discovered is that aspirin
was a much better drug than we believed it to be.
I do not see so many children with runny noses as I used to do years ago.
But there are still plenty of them about. One author1 gives the causes of
chronic nasal discharge as due to enlargement of the adenoids, or to being allergic
to something, or to the presence of an obstruction in the nose. In my student
days, I was taught twenty-six causes of nasal obstruction. Very rarely indeed
does a child put something up its nose. Most of the children with chronic
runny noses that I used to see came from the poor classes and were often underfed
and malnourished and in poor condition. They nearly all had retraction of
the ear drum showing blockage of the internal ear canal and partial deafness.
Many of them had enlarged tonsils and adenoids, but I was never one who
advocated wholesale operations for them. I have a great deal of sympathy

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